The concept of the Customer Experience Center (CEC) is gaining attention in the customer care industry as the next logical step beyond the contact center. Although a precise definition of the CEC is still under debate, a good starting point is to think of it as a set of technologies and business processes that deliver (hopefully superior) customer experience management, which Gartner defines as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
In the movie “Batman Begins“, Batman tells Rachel Dawes, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” This statement offers an alternate way to think about the CEC–by considering what it does. The emerging CEC encompasses Customer Collaboration by combining traditional contact center technology and processes with a range of collaboration technologies to empower businesses to forge deeper, more proactive relationships with their customers. As such, the CEC moves beyond the traditional channels of interaction of the “contact center” to embrace new media and access methods desired by consumers, including video, mobile, and the social web. Or the batphone.
The CEC has emerged because consumers want the organizations they do business with to understand them across channels, self-service, and specialized, live assistance. When they do escalate to an agent, they expect their history to be used along with pertinent information stored in various databases to continue their customized experience. Batman can’t afford to waste time reminding Commissioner Gordon of their previous discussions every time they have a new criminal to catch. The CEC isn’t solely reactive, either. Wouldn’t Batman appreciate a call from his insurance company if sensors in the batmobile detect fender damage while it’s parked outside the Joker’s latest hideout?
Although the Customer Experience Center can be defined by what it does, what’s underneath is important, too. The functionality of CECs is best driven by horizontal, distributed architectures with open application programming interfaces that offer businesses the flexibility to leverage applications and information to better serve modern consumers.
We’ll delve into this more deeply in the coming weeks, but for now it’s important to realize that CECs are here today, enabling businesses to create contextual, compelling experiences for their customers.
Grim as he is, even the Dark Knight would enjoy that.
What do you think the Customer Experience Center is–or should be?